Poetry: A Tribute to Friendship & Dictionary for a Better World

Posted April 15, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: National Poetry Month

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In my previous blog, I talked about National Poetry Month and included book suggestions to celebrate poetry. That blog inspired my very first best friend to create a poem of her own – an ode to our friendship. It brought back fond memories and touched my heart.

Karen Goelz Rodgers and Me

I met my first friend in Milwaukee
Many long years ago.
The fun we two had,
In olde dresses clad
These two little girls in Milwaukee


We played in the attic
We played in the yard
The old apple tree we did climb
Life back in the day was simply sublime
For the two little girls in Milwaukee

Time went by as time often does
Other friends we both did make
We wed, had families, jobs, and things
From time to time gave the other a ring
And remembered the days in Milwaukee

Two grandma’s we are now
Separated by miles,
Connected by memories of an earlier time
And perhaps the ‘silliest’ rhyme!
Those two little girls from Milwaukee

~Karen Goelz Rodgers

There is joy in poetry! Thank you, my dear friend. 

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z written by Irene Latham & Charles Waters and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, Carolrhoda Books, 2020.

Behold this book! As the title says, this book is a dictionary. The carefully chosen words, appear in alphabetical order, are meant to inspire readers to think and to make a difference in themselves and the world. Each spread has a poem that relates to the word. Different poetic forms are used throughout the book. Each spread also contains a quote, an anecdote that relates to the word, and an activity you can try to grow and expand your world to make it a better place. This is a perfect book to share with others and celebrate National Poetry Month!

April is Poetry Month!

Posted April 8, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Poetry Month

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Evening sky glistens

Awash with dazzling colors

Sun whispers goodnight

~CSO

How about a little haiku to begin poetry month? An idea. Three lines. Seventeen syllables – 5-7-5. Voilà!

There is joy to be found in words that paint pictures. Choose any book below and immerse yourself and your family in the world of poetry. Read. Relax. Enjoy.

A World Full of Poems: Inspiring Poetry for Children selected by Sylvia Vardell, DK Children, 2020.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and other Nonsense written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith, Little, Brown Books for Young Children updated version 2020.

My First Book of Haiku Poems: A Picture, a Poem, and a Dream written by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen and illustrated by Tracy Gallup, Tuttle Publishing, 2019.

One Last Word written by Nikki Grimes, Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2017.

The Poetry of US edited by J. Patrick Lewis, National Geographic Kids, 2018.

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems written by Bob Raczka, Roaring Book Press, 2016.

The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom written and illustrated by Lita Judge, Roaring Book Press, March 2021.

The Dance of the Bees written by Fran Nuño, illustrated by Zuzanna Celej, translated by Jon Brokenbrow, Cuento de Luz SL, February 2021.

Girl. Girl. Girl… Boy?

Posted April 1, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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Many years ago, a boy was born into our family. It was a day to celebrate.

Over the years more babies arrived – a girl, another girl, and another girl. Through the years, those girls kept coming. Fourteen girls dominated the family tree. Then two years ago a baby boy arrived! An anomaly? A miracle? Was the universe playing with our expectations?

Last week, we welcomed a new baby into our family. Lo and behold! Another boy!!!

This may be a sign we are eking out a new pattern in our family tree. If so, the boys have a long way to go to catch up to those fourteen girls!

Welcome, Samuel!

Don’t forget. Today is…

More Mighty Women to Celebrate!

Posted March 25, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Women's History Month

Tags:

You can never read enough about amazing women in history!

Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, The First Woman Pilot written by Matthew Clark Smith and illustrated by Matt Tavares, Candlewick, 2017

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee written by Julie Leung and illustrted by Julie Kwon, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021

Standing On Her Shoulders: A Celebrations of Women written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Laura Freeman, Orchard Books, 2021

Kate’s Light: Kate Walker at Robbins Reef Lighthouse written by Elizabeth Spires and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, Margaret Ferguson Books, 2021

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance – Nikki Grimes, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2021

A Shamrock Wish for Everyone!

Posted March 18, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: ,

May you always have

A sunbeam to warm you

Good luck to charm you

And a sheltering angel

So nothing can harm you

Laughter to cheer you

Faithful friends near you

And whenever you pray,

Heaven to hear you.

It’s a day late, but I wish everyone…

An Apple a Day

Posted March 11, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: , ,

The exact date is not known, but March 11th  is believed to mark the day Johnny Appleseed passed away and rose up to the apple pie in the sky. So, today we celebrate National Johnny Appleseed Day.

Legend has that Johnny Appleseed, whose real name was John Chapman, traveled to places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, planting apple trees and apple seeds. A rather odd personality in the manner in which he dressed, Johnny Appleseed brought kindness, wisdom, and news to the people as he passed through each place.

Johnny Appleseed’s legacy lives on through his apples and the goodness they provide.

Look at the benefits!

Apples may help lower cholesterol.

Apples are a source of good fiber and digestion.

Apples help your immune system.

Apples may help to prevent cancer.

Apples help with weight loss.

Apples protect your heart.

Apples are good for brain health.

Apples lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Apples are nutritious.

Thank you, Johnny Appleseed!

Johnny Appleseed Cake

Johnny Appleseed written by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrated by Genevieve Godbout, Golden Books, 2017.

It’s Women’s History Month!

Posted March 4, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Women's History Month

Tags:

In March we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by women. In every walk of life, women have helped to make America and the world a better place. Below are are just a few of the many books written about strong women who will inspire you.

The Leaf Detective written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jana Christy, Calkins Creek, 2021

Caroline’s Comets: A True Story written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, Holiday House, 2017

Turning Pages: My Life Story written by Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Lulu Delacre, Philomel Books, 2018

Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizabeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Brooke Smart, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2021

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secret of the Atom written by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang, Sterling Children’s Books, 2019

Firebird written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2014

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2020

Coming Soon! Don’t Miss it!

Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott written by Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Knopf Books for Young Readers, June 8, 2021

Coming Soon: A Hilarious Picture Book!

Posted February 25, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Cow Says Meow written by Kristi Call and illustrated by Brandon James Scott, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, March 16, 2021.

If you like animals, wordplay, and serious silliness, this is the book for you! Cow Says Meow written by Kirsti Call and illustrated by Brandon James Scott will have you and young readers meowing, clucking, and belly laughing with each page turn. The illustrator’s bold art will appeal to the youngest of readers who can practice identifying the animal pictures and matching the animal sounds to the proper animal. The clever text with a young boy as the narrator combined with the humorous illustrations make this book a winner! “Ewe” will love it!

Join the free virtual book launch on Tuesday, March 16th at 7pm EST. Kirsti Call will be singing a song written by her daughter especially for Cow Says Meow. The illustrator will be there, too, for a fun evening. You can register here. https://www.anunlikelystory.com/event/cowsaysmeow  Once at the site, click on the date above the pictures of Kirsti Call and Brandon James Scott in the big black box.

See you there!

PB Review: The Clothesline Code

Posted February 18, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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The Clothesline Code: The Story of Civil War Spies Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker written by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Trisha Mason, Brandylane Publishers, Inc., 2021

Have you ever thought about becoming a spy? Is it dangerous? What if you get caught? Award-winning author, Janet Halfmann‘s newest book, The Clothesline Code, tells a compelling story about Dabney and Lucy Ann Walker, two black patriots, who fled slavery and became spies for the Union Army during the Civil War.

Dabney and Lucy Ann found refuge and work in a Union camp near the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Lucy Ann worked as a laundress, and Dabney worked as a cook and scout. Camped across the river was Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army. Major General Hooker of the Union army wanted to find out every detail about the enemy. Dabney volunteered to help by becoming a spy. He told Lucy Ann about the flags the Union soldiers used to send coded messages. Together the two of them came up with a clever way to use different colors of clothing and different patterns of hanging laundry on a clothesline to send messages across the river.

Dabney and Lucy Ann worked hard to flesh out every single detail of their code and practiced until they knew exactly how to work it. It was time for Lucy Ann to take her place as a spy. She used her wits to cross the Rappahannock River and blend in with the other women doing laundry in the Confederate camp. She washed clothes for General Lee and his officers, and she also cooked for them. She was in the perfect place to gather information. Spying was a dangerous job, but the clothesline code worked well. Dabney decoded the messages sent by Lucy Ann which then provided General Hooker with valuable information about the enemy forces. Janet Halfmann has written a powerful story of two extraordinary black patriots who were willing to risk their lives so others could enjoy freedom. Trisha Mason‘s illustrations help tell the Walkers’ story, depicting emotions of fear and elation experienced by Dabney and Lucy Ann. This book is a fascinating look at American history and how two heroic people came up with an ingenious idea to help the Union Army during the Civil War.

A perfect book to celebrate African American History Month!

Books Celebrating Black History Month

Posted February 11, 2021 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: African American History Month

Tags: , ,

Check out these books that celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans!

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad written and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishing Company, 2020

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston written by Alicia D. Williams and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, Antheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2021

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner written by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, Calkins Creek, 2019

Carter Reads the Newspaper written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate, Peachtree Publishing Company, 2019

RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Frank Morrison, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020

That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World written by Rochelle Riley and Cristi Smith-Jones, Wayne State University Press, 2021

Black Women in Science written by Kimberly Brown Pellum, PhD, Rockridge Press, 2019


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